Sometimes the simplest way to cut to the heart of the matter is to draw analogies between what you’re doing to your bike and the world outside of cycling. Doing so can sometimes help alert you to a potential mistake. Here are just a few examples of bad cycling choices and their non-cycling counterparts:
Mistake: Carbon-Wrapped Components
Non-Cycling Counterpart: Gold-Plated Jewelry
Mistake: Putting Too Much Useless Crap On Your Bike
People are using a lot of accessories on their bicycles these days, particularly in the fixed-gear scene. Despite the fact that fixed-gear bikes are ostensibly simple machines, people sure keep finding new ways to tart them up. And while some of these accessories have some sort of basis in performance enhancement, most of them have just become excuses to prolong the superficial joy of buying a bike by putting more things on the bike. Which is fine—until it goes too far, and you're just spraypainting, Aerospoking, stickering, spoke-carding, and top-tube padding your way to a ridiculous ride.
Non-Cycling Counterpart: “The Hoopty”
Mistake: Inappropriate Attire
Style is of course a personal choice. While there are certain customary ways of dressing for various types of cycling, if deviating from that makes you feel more comfortable with yourself, then by all means do so. But just make sure you’re not completely disregarding function and practicality for vanity. Some clothing choices just don’t work. Lycra and chamois exist for a reason.
Non-Cycling Counterpart: Riding a 150hp crotch rocket in your underpants.
Mistake: Losing Sight of What a Bicycle Actually Is
All right, I’m going to come right out and say that bicycles should be upright. Road bikes, downhill bikes, track bikes, BMX bikes, pizza delivery bikes, and even those completely stupid tall bikes all fall under the “bicycle” auspices. If you are a cyclist, you should be able to get comfortable on one of these machines. And you should at least make a very concerted effort to do so before resorting to a recumbent. (Please understand that this in no way applies to the physically challenged or those who, due to an extenuating physical circumstance of some kind, must use alternative machines.)
Non-Cycling Counterpart: Trikes (Uh, you’re one more wheel and a few more cubic feet of trunk space from having a convertible. Perhaps motorcycling is not for you.)
Mistake: Buying the Most Expensive Bike You Possibly Can and Hitting the Sunday Group Ride
Yes, most of the big bike companies make some kind of exotic, limited edition bicycle every now and then. And yes, it’s really expensive, and if you get it you’ll probably have a more expensive bike than anyone else you come across. But here’s the thing. They’re PR stunts. You’re not supposed to actually buy those.
Non-Cycling Counterpart: Being These Guys at the Party